Losing two teammates and fellow students in the span of a couple of months during 2013 was difficult for all the students at Robert F. Munroe Day School. It was harder still on the parents and families. But due to the efforts of many in the Munroe community, including the baseball boosters and a wealth of others who loved the two student athletes and support the baseball program, J.C. Partin and Josh Wilder will live on as the namesakes of the new practice facility recently dedicated in their memory.
“These two young men participated in the baseball program and are inspirations to their teammates as well as to all of us adults,” said RFM Baseball Boosters President Rick Shiver. “It’s only fitting that the facility bears their name.”
Shiver and the baseball boosters raised funds and solicited contributions to get the facility constructed in a matter of weeks, beginning just after the 2014 baseball season got under way. Along with proceeds from memorial contributions and some sweat equity, the facility was completed with about half of the season remaining. All of the Bobcat baseball teams have been able to use the facility and the varsity team, currently 20-5, recently crowned as district champs, and preparing for the first round of the region playoffs, have been able to make good use of the structure that features two batting lanes and a tee area.
“It really allows us to do so much more during practice time,” said Head Coach Jayme Williams. “It allows us to be so much more efficient and have less time for standing around. It is also good for when the weather is bad and we either had to cancel practice or use the gym.”
The building was officially named the “J.C. Partin-Josh Wilder Bobcat Baseball Practice Facility” at a dedication ceremony just prior to the varsity Bobcats’ recent home game with Wewahitchka. Current Bobcat players and many guests, including the parents and family members of J.C. and Josh, gathered as keynote speaker Jimmy Harris reminded everyone of the RFM baseball history and the impact that the lives of the two players as well as the facility that honors them would have on future generations of Bobcats.
“They are two very special young men who loved and participated in Bobcat baseball,” said Harris, “and will serve as inspirations to the many athletes who come through this program and use this facility to become better players and ultimately better people.”
The facility, as well as being a welcome addition at Bradford May Field, will be a source of pride for many years to come. It will also play a large part in the future success of Bobcat baseball and two of its most beloved will forever be a part.